Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Statistics Don't Sell Homes

Why are real estate agents giving potential home buyers so many reasons NOT to buy? The practice of bombarding the public with negative statistics about the real estate market instead of only focusing on positive ones is a bigger part of the problem than most people think.

Sure, not as big as the banks have caused by way of the mortgage crisis, but still up there on the list of reasons.

Suppose you are looking for a property, or looking to sell one right now. Let me ask you this. If you are looking to buy, is it because of a statisical comparison with past years?

(I didn't think so!)

If you are trying to sell, is it because of statistics from previous years?

(I didn't think so!)

As I review news stories and releases from around the country most every day, I am still amazed at the number of stories out there like this one from Tulsa:

If this story focused on the fact that 913 homes sold during July in the Tulsa area and that more than 5,400 have sold there during 2011 (through July), I'd be impressed. Tulsa is not an area that has been in the business news, positively or negatively, lately. But homes are selling there.

Those are statistics the realty association should be putting out there. Maybe compare it with other cities with a similar population and demographic, and put the names of those cities in the "story" which haven't sold at that pace so far this year.

But, no. Still another realty association that finds the need to compare these sales statistics with recent years. And proceed to tell potential buyers how the market is suffering. They keep bringing up last year's tax credit as a reason for more sales during early 2010. Well, there is no more tax credit. Just how does this "help" the market today?

Obviously, it doesn't. At least it's obvious to me and to thousands of others who are trying to sell their property and move on. Again, I'll bet the reason for trying to sell now is not because of home sales statistics from 1 to 5 years ago.

Give us statistics which encourage sales and which will entice more potential buyers and help those looking to sell. How many "sellers" were able to enter a "rent to buy" agreement for their homes?

If more families could rent a home and have most of their monthly rent go toward a future purchase, it would allow more opportunities for sellers. It would allow more opportunities for individuals and families who can afford the rent, want the home owner responsibility, and can't get approved for a mortgage to do so. It would help to take some of the lowest priced homes off the market.

There are some very motivated and some very desperate sellers out there in most markets. But as long as the realty associations and news organizatons continue to bombard us all with apples and oranges negative statistics, we'll all be stuck in this rut.

What happened last year or five years ago does not impact a buyer or seller decision this week. At least it shouldn't. But knowing the number of homes in your area which have sold within the past 60 days could.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Why Turning Foreclosures To Rentals Makes Sense

How about that? A politician with an idea that makes sense.

Actually, it's an idea I suggested in this very blog months ago, but maybe this publicity can make it come to life.

If only this had been done a couple of years ago. The idea is to take foreclosed properties and turn them into rental units. This would have given many consumers who can't afford, can't get, or don't want a mortgage the ability to live in a house instead of a cramped apartment. Maybe they'd want to buy a home down the road. Even if they don't, they would be providing monthly revenue for the bank that owns the home, instead of sitting empty.

Multiply that scene by thousands, and that probably would have provided the banks with enough money so that our elected politicians wouldn't have been dumb enough to give these banks "bailout money". Only to have some of the banks hand that money to executives for bonus money and let the housing market continue to go down the tubes. And, of course, cause the government to cut back on everything else that bank money should have gone for.

Turning foreclosures into rental properties would also take thousands of listings off the market, and leave the buyers to go after properties offered by motivated sellers. At higher prices, of course. Taking foreclosures off the market would eliminate the majority of the vastly discounted property prices and therefore increase property values once again.

For a change, something a politician wants to do makes sense, and would actually benefit consumers. If only the others could understand that, this time.